The exploration of new ideas in business, government, and society is the focus of the Wharton Conference Series, a consortium of student-run conferences that covers a vast range of topics. Conferences are organized by students in the Wharton MBA program, some in conjunction with undergraduates. Except where otherwise indicated, all conferences are held in Philadelphia.
The history of student-run conferences at Wharton goes back more than 30 years. Over time, their titles reflect changing business dynamics and student interests. Conferences host a variety of prominent business and government leaders discussing such issues as African-American opportunity in entrepreneurship, technology, media and entertainment, and new ventures in the health care industry.
Wharton undergraduate students also sponsor conferences. Conference topics have included The Asian Financial Landscape, Visions of a New Europe, and Blacks in the Media.
Most of the conferences have special, low prices for Wharton alumni. With a daytrip to Philadelphia or even an overnight stay, they are usually an excellent value, given the high caliber of speakers and keynoters.
Because capacity is limited and these conferences often sell out, it is advisable to sign up early for any in which you are interested.
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November 11 - 9th Annual Entrepreneurship Conference 2005: Reaching Beyond Your Grasp
--The path to launching something new is often riddled with doubt, difficulty, and denouncements. Whether one is well-funded or working on a shoestring budget, it is the attitude of “Reaching Beyond Your Grasp” that defines many successful entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial companies and entrepreneurial industries. This year's conference seeks to present these stories to our attendees in a manner that is relevant to today’s entrepreneurs.
--Established as a forum for students, alumni, faculty and professionals, the conference creates a context for discussion about challenges facing entrepreneurs in the next millennium.
--A full day of panels, workshops, business plan consultations and a closing networking event.
Wharton Entrepreneurship Conference Link
C. Howard Wilkins, Jr.,
Founder, Pizza Hut Corporation of America; Former U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands
Mr. C. Howard Wilkins, Jr., former Ambassador to the Netherlands, is a businessman and private investor. He graduated from Yale University and began as a restaurateur in 1966. He founded the Pizza Hut Corporation of America, where he built and acquired 270 restaurants and obtained listing on the American Stock Exchange. He founded several other companies, including Maverick Development Corporation, which manages a variety of restaurants. As a private investor, he has interests in oil and gas, various other food operations, and a number of other private business ventures.
He served as an Ambassador to the Netherlands under the Bush Administration, he created the Annual National Entrepreneurship Seminar in Amsterdam. He has been very active as a major Republican fundraiser since 1976. Mr. Wilkins was a member of YPO (Young President’s Organization) for 15 years and now he participates in WPO (World President’s Organization). Mr. Wilkins will honor us with a morning keynote address and speak on the Consumer and Retail Entrepreneurship panel.
Omar S. Amanat,
Vice Chair, Acumen Fund; Founder and Ex-CEO of Tradescape (acquired by E*Trade)
Mr. Omar S. Amanat most recently was the Founder, CEO and majority shareholder of Tradescape Corp, a next generation brokerage and technology firm for professional investors, which he founded in 1997 and sold to E*Trade Financial in 2002 becoming one of E*Trade's largest shareholders.
Prior to forming Tradescape, Mr. Amanat co-founded CyberBlock, the predecessor of CyberTrader, Inc., which was acquired by Charles Schwab in February 2000. Mr. Amanat is the recipient of the prestigious Albert P. Einstein Technology award for outstanding corporate citizenship and sits on the Board of Trustees for the Harlem Youth Development Foundation. He has been profiled in various media venues including Fortune Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, and is a frequent public speaker.
Mr. Amanat's current passion is finding solutions and fighting the real "war on terrorism" by addressing hatred and humiliation head on and strengthening moderate hands in the Muslim world. He is currently working on launching the first Muslim American cable and satellite channel in the United States.
Mr. Amanat attended the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton School and he currently sits on the Board of Advisors for Wharton's Entrepreneurial Council. Mr. Amanat will honor us with a lunch keynote address.
The 2005 Wharton Entrepreneurship Conference is pleased to present the following panels for the Entrepreneurship 101, Industry Verticals, Types of Entrepreneurship, and Young Entrepreneurs tracks.
Turning Your Idea into Reality
Interested in starting your own business but have no idea where to begin? Our panel of experienced entrepreneurs will go over the basics, from picking an idea that works to creating a business plan, to executing on bringing your idea to life.
Moderator: Shaun Smith, Franchise Owner, Action International
Panelist: Lucinda Holt, Chairman & President, Destiny WebSolutions
Panelist: Thomas Knobel, Founder & CEO, Nobel Limited Company
Panelist: Steve Papa, Founder, Endeca
Panelist: Eran Salu, Founder & CEO, Totalbusiness.com
Avenues to Venture Financing
Starting your own business requires a lot of thought, effort, and - of course - funding. Our panel of financiers and entrepreneurs will detail information on how to find the right channels and get the money you need to get your business off the ground.
Moderator: Michael Kopelman, Vice President, Edison Venture Fund
Panelist: Angelique X. Irwin, President, Clear Align
Panelist: P. Sherrill Neff, Managing Partner, Quaker BioVentures LP
Panelist: David Noteware, Founder, Payquik
Panelist: Vivek Pandita, Principal, Eastward Capital Partners
Real Estate Entrepreneurship
Planning on building a multi-million dollar real estate empire? See yourself as the next Donald Trump or feel that single family housing is the next big thing? Listen to valuable insights and lessons learnt from entrepreneurs that have ridden the real estate roller coaster to success.
Moderator: Georgette Poindexter, Chairperson, Real Estate Department, The Wharton School
Panelist: David Marshall, Chairman & CEO, Amerimar Enterprises, Inc.
Panelist: J. Brian O'Neill, Founder & Chairman, O'Neill Properties Group
Panelist: Gregory Peck, Founder, loungeSleep Hotels
Panelist: Bruce Toll, Founder & Vice Chairman, Toll Brothers, Inc.
Media & Entertainment Entrepreneurship
The media industry is going through a digital transformation as businesses experiment with emerging technologies. What entrepreneurial opportunities exist now in the industry? What are the issues aspiring entrepreneurs must deal with? Our diverse panel of speakers will address these topics and share their views on current market trends, the impact of new media & other technology, as well as the challenges and successes they have experienced as media entrepreneurs.
Moderator: Nelson Gayton, General Partner, Crayon Venture Partners
Panelist: Ami Miron, Venture Partner, Vertex Venture Capital
Panelist: Hal Real, Founder, Real Entertainment Group
Panelist: Neil Vogel, Founder & CEO, Recognition Media
Consumer & Retail Entrepreneurship
Establishing a new consumer and retail business can present a number of unique challenges for aspiring entrepreneurs. Come hear about the ins and outs of establishing a successful venture from entrepreneurs that share your consumer and retail passion.
Moderator: William Cody, Managing Director, Baker Retailing Initiative, The Wharton School
Panelist: Darius Bikoff, Founder & CEO, Glacéau
Panelist: Stephen Hindy, Founder, Chairman & President, Brooklyn Brewery
Panelist: Dany Levy, Founder & Editor-In-Chief, Daily Candy
Panelist: C. Howard Wilkins, Founder, Pizza Hut Franchising; Former U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands
Emerging Technologies Entrepreneurship
Many entrepreneurs with a ground breaking emerging technology concept struggle to establish the viability of their idea and many fail to capitalize on the opportunity. Our panelists will detail the latest trends in emerging technologies as well as the steps one needs to take to move from emerging technology concept to emerging technology commercialization.
Moderator: Michael Tomczyk, Managing Director, Emerging Technologies Management Research Program, The Wharton School
Panelist: Brett Hurt, Founder & CEO, Bazaarvoice, Inc.; Founder & Board Director, Coremetrics
Panelist: Kevin Mansmann, M.D., Founder, Formae LLP
Panelist: Paul Schoemaker, Founder, Chairman, & CEO, Decision Strategies International
Panelist: Justin (Yuan) Shi, Ph.D., Founder & CEO, Parallel Computers Technologies, Inc.
Types of Entrepreneurship
Advisory Firms and Investment Funds
Consulting, investment banking, and investment management have become major forces in the modern business world. Although the industry is dominated by big-name companies, there are many extremely successful entrepreneurial firms started by young professionals. Would you like to start your own hedge fund or private equity firm someday? Our panelists will share their experiences in starting up advisory and investment firms and how they managed to compete against the more established players.
Moderator: Michael J. Purcell, Partner, Venture Capital Services & Technology, Media & Telecommunications, Deloitte & Touche
Panelist: Tedd Alexander III, Managing Member & Founder, Credo Capital Management, LLC
Panelist: Felix Danciu, Founder & Managing Director, Williams Capital Partners
Panelist: Todd Lavieri, President & CEO, Archstone Consulting
Panelist: Joel Shaps, President & CEO, Bedrock Capital Management; Founder, ShapsGroup, Inc.
Corporate entrepreneurship programs can be very effective at seeding technology innovation; however, capturing these innovations often proves difficult. Our panelists will address the challenges they have faced and discuss topics such as best practices for developing a global corporate venturing and partnering strategy, the merits of different corporate venturing models, and successful models demonstrating how large corporations can work effectively with traditional venture capital firms to grow their businesses.
Moderator: Gary Dushnitsky, Assistant Professor of Management, The Wharton School
Panelist: Rajiv Goel, Managing Director, Intel Capital
Panelist: Rich Riley, VP & General Manager, Yahoo! Small Business
Panelist: Sam Schwartz, Senior Managing Director & Founding Partner, Comcast Interactive Capital
Panelist: Philip Smith, General Partner, SR One
Entrepreneurship via Acquisition
Why spend time coming up with new ideas or undertake the risk of building something from scratch? Buying and growing an existing business is a model that has proved possible of generating substantial returns. Hear from entrepreneurs who have chosen this path – some of whom even did so while at school!
Moderator: Robert Chalfin, President, The Chalfin Group
Panelist: RT Arnold, Founding Partner, Channelstone Partners
Panelist: Lindsay M. Held, Owner, Tasti-D-Lite stores
Panelist: Michael B. Morrissey, Director of Business Development, Inverness Capital Partners
Panelist: Todd Squilanti, Partner, Ovation Capital
Emerging Markets Entrepreneurship
The emergence of many developing markets around the market no doubt presents a wealth of attractive opportunities for entrepreneurs. The Emerging Markets Entrepreneurship panel includes a number of entrepreneurs and others who have successfully navigated the emerging market landscape. Panel topics include mitigating the business risks associated with a developing country, sourcing local venture capital and dealing with local partners.
Moderator: Stephen Sammut, Venture Partner, Burrill & Company
Panelist: Pravin R. Chaturvedi, Ph.D., Chairman & CEO, IndUS Pharmaceuticals
Panelist: Alejandro Diego, Founder & CEO, Ollin Studios
Panelist: Aviad Eyal, Founder & CEO, Cura Software Solutions
Panelist: Diego Panama, Entrepreneur Services Associate, Endeavor Global
More than 90 percent of all businesses in this country, as well as many others, are family businesses. But many of them face constantly-pressing issues ranging from marketing and distribution to succession planning. Our panel participants, all of whom run their own family businesses, work in a wide range of industries and operate at different stages of development, from small startups to large, established companies. Come hear them share their individual experiences and advice about managing a family business.
Moderator: Raphael (Raffi) Amit, Chairman, The Wharton Global Family Alliance
Panelist: Robert A. Gillam, Director, Global Equities, McKinley Capital Management, Inc.
Panelist: Todd Millay, Partner & Executive Director, The Wharton Global Family Alliance
Panelist: Laird P. Pendleton, Co-Founder, CCC Alliance; Chairman, The Wharton Global Family Alliance
Panelist: Stuart J. Rabin, Co-Founder, President & CEO, Jacobson Family Investments, Inc.
Under 40 Success Stories
They did it, you can too! Our panelists are all successful entrepreneurs who have created and sold businesses. At our session, they will share their inspiring stories and give specific advice on fundraising, capturing your first customer, and conquering the fear that you’re too young.
Moderator: Jeffrey Ginsberg, Founder & Chairman, Eureka Networks
Panelist: Stacey Bendet, Founder & CEO, alice + olivia
Panelist: Marc Ganzi, Founder & CEO, Global Tower Partners
Panelist: Jason Olim, Founder, CDNow
Panelist: Jay Penske, Founder, Chairman & CEO, Velocity Services
Wharton Entrepreneurship Conference Link